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The Last Samurai

  • Action
  • Drama
  • 2003
  • Edward Zwick
  • 147 mins
  • 15

Summary

Period action drama, starring Tom Cruise. In 1876, after witnessing the US military brutality against native Americans, Captain Nathan Algren turns to drink to escape his battle nightmares. Hired by the young Japanese emperor to train the country's first modern, conscript army, Algren is forced to lead an inadequate campaign against the ancient line of Japanese warriors, the Samurai. But when he is captured by these alleged national enemies, he begins to doubt his mission.

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Review

A star rating of 4 out of 5.

Hollywood's image of the "noble savage" is applied to the 19th-century Japanese samurai in this sweeping action drama from director Edward Zwick. Reminiscent of Zwick's Glory and Legends of the Fall, it charts a poignant personal odyssey prompted by the clash of old and new cultures. Tom Cruise plays a disillusioned US captain hired by the young Japanese emperor to train the country's first modern conscript army. After leading an inadequate campaign against the samurai warriors, the military man is captured by these alleged national enemies who teach him to reassess his beliefs and values. An epic movie in every way, the beautifully shot tale pours with emotion, from its strong storyline and robust performances to its spine-tingling and bloody battle sequences. Though the film suffers from being overly idealistic and occasionally stereotypical, its heart is in the right place, while the attention to detail and extensive use of subtitled language adds extra authenticity. Cruise handles his role well, but it's Ken Watanabe's dignified turn as samurai leader Katsumoto that captivates.

Credits

Cast

rolename
Captain Nathan AlgrenTom Cruise
Simon GrahamTimothy Spall
Sergeant Zebulon GantBilly Connolly
Colonel Benjamin BagleyTony Goldwyn
KatsumotoKen Watanabe
UjioHiroyuki Sanada
TakaKoyuki
Emperor MeijiShichinosuke Nakamura
NakaoShun Sugata
Silent SamuraiSeizo Fukumoto
OmuraMasato Harada
NobutadaShin Koyamada
Winchester RepWilliam Atherton
General HasegawaTogo Igawa

Crew

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DirectorEdward Zwick

Details

Theatrical distributor
Warner Bros
Released on
2004-01-09
Languages
English | Japanese
Guidance
Violence.
Available on
video, DVD and Blu-ray
Formats
Colour
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